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How Does This Work Again?

Dear Ann,

How is India? How was your flight(s)? Did you get a lot of knitting done? Have you bought any bangles yet? Don’t wait for the good bangles. They’re all good bangles. With bangles, more is more.

While you’re blasting us with colorful Instagrams (you are @annshayne on Instagram, for those who want to be able to watch your little videos over there), I’m still here, knitting 1500 yards of laceweight merino/silk (Juniper Moon Farm Findley) into a Leaves of Grass shawl.

I’ve had some Realizations.


Knitting flat things in the round over a small number of stitches is not my thing. I’m amazed that it’s anybody’s thing. If it’s your thing, I have news for you:  there are easier things. This is chart A of Leaves of Grass (above). I knit it three times (I think the photo is Attempt 2). I didn’t make mistakes as much as I made Quality Control Errors, with gaps and STUFF THAT I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT OK? It’s the very center of the shawl. It had to be OK. In the process, I proved that Juniper Moon Farm Findley is a durable material that can stand up to repeated ripping and re-knitting, with nary a pill or a chafe.  (Just like my soul.)


Chart B. Still struggling. It’s not that it’s hard. It’s that it requires my attention. Generally, I knit (a) on the subway or (b) after 10 at night. I usually knit things that can be knit on the subway and/or after 10, with no problem. I kept messing up. I kept unknitting 144 stitches, stitch by stitch, to get back to where the latest mistake was. I invented a whole new category of mistake where you place a different-colored marker on the mistake so you know how far back you have to un-knit, and then you fix the mistake but you don’t remove the marker so the next time you hit that marker you think it’s the one that marks the beginning of a new round. Hilarity ensues!


Chart C. Thanks to the fact that Chart C is repeated 6 times, I had a few glimmers of my former self esteem, somewhere around the 4th repeat.


And now: Chart D. I kiss the ground of Chart D. Chart D is symmetrical. It is heavenly in its rigorous predictability and low puzzle factor.

It is also 580 stitches per round, but hey: I like to knit.

Happy Monday, all.




  1. Can’t wait to see this baby blocked and flat.

  2. Do NOT knit lace when you are tired, angry, distracted, upset, hungry, or watching mystery television! It is a wonderful knit but it does need concentration….ah as you have discovered. What a beautiful gift you will be handing over…continued success!!

  3. I can’t believe how far you’ve gotten already! It’s going to be beautiful! reminds me of Debbie New’s knitted boat/coracle. is it too late to make it into a wedding coracle?

  4. It’s beautiful. And it hurt my brain just reading about the charts. Knit On!!

  5. Oh, that is lovely! I must say I am with you on the subway knitting. I have a million things started that get to a point where I have to pay attention, and then they get casually put aside.
    How many more charts do you have to go?

  6. Looking lovely. Yes, there are easier things, but looking at it from here, are there lovelier things? Perhaps the easiest thing is to admire it from here.
    All my knitting projects are now at the “ah-heck-I-think-I’ll-just-play-freecell-on-the-train-today” phase, though I’m getting bored with freecell again. Must get past some tricky parts at home soon. I hope they’re not too tricky to complete with a cold beer at hand.
    We kiss the feet of chart K(ay) and wish you good luck and godspeed with the rest of the shawl.

  7. If this was Ravelry, I would be hitting the “agree” button x 100 … I do the exact.same.thing. with the markers on the mistakes … and I also hate to knit on double points or small circulars, and am so very glad when the knitting can be on 24″ circs. (are those Addi Lace I spy? do they make your hands smell … I need to try the Turbo Rockets. Hated cleaning the brass needles.)

    And no, not subway or Mad Men or even West Wing knitting .

    But beautiful!

    • I adore the Addi lace needles. You do not have to clean them. They get a little bronzed looking when not in use, but just a few short rounds in, and they’re shining like new pennies. They just want to work. (And no, no dirt left on the knitting. You’d see it on this white stuff. They just shine up by magic.)

  8. You made me laugh out loud with your double markers and mistaking start of round. Been there. I have another rule about late night knitting. DON’T RIP TIL MORNING. I have been known to rip out perfectly good knitting when I was too tired to count and went on a correctness rampage. I look forward to more updates.

    • A Correctness Rampage! Exactly! “This Must All…..Be Destroyed.” Nighttime brings acts of desperation. Yet it’s hard to go to sleep with a mess on the needles……

  9. Given that I’m on my third try for a cowl on a sweater (which is far less taxing than your project), I thank the yarn gods and goddesses for yarn that survives multiple ripping.

    What a gorgeous gift this will be!

  10. That’s going to be just beautiful.

  11. Lifeline…add a lifeline. Ask me how I know this! It is beautiful and will be beautiful.

  12. Knitting in the round flat is hard? Truth. I am just about to start the 4th square of Dogwood (hit up Rav for details), and I’m so putting off casting on 8 stitches on 4 DPN’s. Full respect, and that is an amazing shawl worth all the effort Kay!

  13. When you’re certain that everything on the needles is correct, take some dental floss and a darning needle and run a lifeline through the base of the stitches. That way, if you make a mistake you simple remove the needle, frog the error-filled portion, and once you thread the needle back through the nicely preserved stitches you’re good to go.

    Voice of experience talking.

  14. I would only change that to “Knitting [any] things in the round over a small number of stitches…” I just had that experience last night with toe-up socks. I say thumbs down–waaaaaaaaay down—for those first rows. And I also totally understand the relief of “rigorous predictability and low puzzle factor.” A wise knitting friend recently described the hard and easy parts of knitting this way:

    “Guess it’s that stretch and relax thing that makes us strong.”

  15. Hats off to you. Hanging head in shame here. No sticktoitivity. After ripping recent sweater back to cast-on row three times, I’ve decided I am just not the lacy-yoke-in-fuzzy-yarn type and am looking only for patterns designed by plain-dress Quakers. I could not deal with lace in the round one more time. BTW, if you hear of anyone who can’t make the indigo dyeing class at the last minute, I’ll buy her/his ticket. I tried to sign up but was too late.

  16. Gorgeous! I can see the blocked beauty this is going to be. Eventually.

  17. Looks great! It’s clearly much improved (in a quality control sort of way) in the version that is sailing onward to immortality.

    I want to watch The Address – thanks for the push. I’m the director of a (somewhat) similar school in Michigan, and one of my first students, many years ago, attended The Greenwood School before coming to us. He’s a lawyer now, and he talked a lot about how great Greenwood was. I love the take on it as well.

  18. I just love this! You describe so accurately the trials and tribulations of lace knitting in the round, and lace knitting in general! Especially can relate to the tinkling back to a different colored marker! And, the charts! Just when you feel you have it conquered, it throws another curve your way! Can’t wait to see this finished and blocked!

  19. Kay, I’m surprised to see that you’re only using one stitch marker for the beginning of your row and I suspect that may be part of what is giving you trouble. You need lots of stitch markers to knit large swaths of lace. At least one per repeat, sometimes more. That way instead of having to make sure 144 stitches work out you just have to be sure that each 12 work out. Oh, they also have to be different from your beginning stitch in some way. I always forget this, each time I start a lace project, but it helps so much once I remember.

  20. As a new, beginner knitter, this post makes me feel so much better about the “simple” (ha!) lace scarf that I was attempting (haha!) to knit for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day (hahahah!!) which I ripped out COMPLETELY (bwahahahah!) last night – after 10:00 pm – now that you mention it. That mohair will come back out when I SAY it can.

  21. “Thanks to the fact that Chart C is repeated 6 times, I had a few glimmers of my former self esteem, somewhere around the 4th repeat.” This made me laugh out loud!


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